Municipal Affairs
September 15, 2016

Public Advisory: Fire Safety Reminder for University, College and Post-Secondary Students

As university, college and post-secondary students settle into their dorms and other accommodations, the Department of Municipal Affairs, Fire and Emergency Services offers the following fire safety tips for the current school year:

General Fire Safety Tips

  • If residing in a dorm, the building should have an evacuation plan. Learn it and participate in all fire drills.
  • Learn the location of all building exits. You may have to find your way out in the dark.
  • Make sure the building has smoke alarms. Do not disable these alarms or remove batteries.
  • Don’t hang anything from fire sprinkler pipes or nozzles.
  • When a fire alarm sounds, leave immediately, and call 911.

Escape Tips

  • If you have to escape through smoke, get low and crawl under the smoke to your exit.
  • Before opening a door, feel the door. If it’s hot, use another way out.
  • Use the stairs; never use an elevator during a fire.
  • If you’re trapped, call the fire department and tell them where you are. Seal your door with rags and signal from your window if possible. Open windows slightly at the top and bottom, but close them if smoke rushes in from any direction.
  • If you have a disability, alert others of the type of assistance you need to leave the building.


  • If you must smoke, only smoke outside of the building and only in areas where it’s permitted.
  • Keep a large can with water nearby so cigarette butts can be safely discarded.
  • Don’t smoke in bed.
  • After a party, check furniture and cushions for smoldering cigarette butts.


  • Cook only where it’s permitted.
  • If you use electric appliances, don’t overload circuits.
  • Never leave cooking unattended.
  • If a fire starts in a microwave oven, keep the door closed and unplug the unit.
  • Check with your post-secondary institution and local fire department before using a grill.
  • Gas and charcoal barbeque grills must only be used outdoors.
  • Position the barbeque well away from any siding and deck railings, and place the grill out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • Place the barbeque a safe distance from lawn games, play areas and foot traffic.
  • Periodically remove grease or fat buildup in trays below the barbeque grill so it cannot be ignited.


  • Don’t burn candles. They are a leading cause of fires in Canada.


  • Check your post-secondary institution’s rules before using electrical appliances in your dorm room.
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions for plugging an appliance into a receptacle outlet.
  • Don’t pinch cords against walls or furniture, or run them under carpets. Never tack or nail cords in place.
  • Don’t overload electric outlets, extension cords or power bars.
  • Don’t connect multiple power bars to one another.
  • Buy only appliances that have the label of an independent testing laboratory.
  • Use light bulbs that match the recommended wattage on the lamp or fixture. Place lamps on level surfaces, away from things that can burn.

Additional fire safety advice is contained in a printable information sheet located here: // .

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Media contact:

Heather May
Director of Communications
Department of Municipal Affairs
709-729-1983, 697-5061

2016 09 15                              11:10 a.m.